Brooklyn Nets: Stephen A. Smith’s new Kyrie Irving take speaks volumes

Nets point guard Kyrie Irving (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Nets point guard Kyrie Irving (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The Kyrie Irving vaccine saga has dominated the NBA news cycle for several weeks, and it finally came to a head on Tuesday when Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks announced that the star point guard won’t play for the team until he can do so as a full-time participant.

Just a few hours later, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Irving’s resistance to the vaccine has nothing to do with doubts about the shot itself.

Rather, the report claims that Irving is actually trying to be a “voice for the voiceless,” or a representative for the individuals whose places of work are mandating vaccines.

These revelations prompted a fiery response amongst Nets fans and talking heads alike, and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who has long been fed up with Irving’s off-court antics, was chief among this crowd.

So much so, in fact, that the “First Take” co-host unleashed an entirely new take about the never-ending saga on Wednesday.

Stephen A. Smith went scorched earth on Brooklyn Nets PG Kyrie Irving.

We’ve come down on Stephen A. a lot recently for pushing the Nets to trade Irving amid his vaccine defiance, but the ESPN personality hit the nail right on the head in this diatribe.

It seems like Irving keeps moving the goal posts … for himself. If Irving wanted to be a so-called “voice” for those who are forced to choose between getting vaccinated and being employed, why was he absent from Nets Media Day?

If he’s open to receiving the shot like the report claims, why did he hold his own remote press conference and ask for privacy when he was pressed about his vaccination status?

Of course, things got even more fiery after Irving’s late-night Instagram live session. If it was possible for Smith to turn things up another notch, he certainly did.

That was Irving’s chance to get on his soapbox and speak up for individuals who don’t have the platform to do so for themselves, and he asked for privacy. See the problem? Nothing adds up.

It’s easy to see why Smith was so offended by this report. He, like most of us, understand that Irving’s acts indicate he is an incredible person. It would take hours to rattle off the list of charitable contributions he’s made and carried out over his career.

However, when push comes to shove, Irving typically ends up pulling some stunt that makes it extremely difficult to defend him. This was just the latest, albeit the most polarizing, of a laundry list of examples.

It’ll be interesting to see how Irving acts in the wake of this report. Will he continue to hide behind the shadows while Marks, Steve Nash, Kevin Durant and James Harden answer questions about his whereabouts? Or will he fulfill his self-imposed obligation to be a “voice for the voiceless”?

Whatever happens, you can guarantee Stephen A. will be ready to dissect it.